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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Vet. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fvets.2019.00418

Salivary scavenger and agglutinin (SALSA) is expressed in mucosal epithelial cells and decreased in bronchial epithelium of asthmatic horses

 Gary K. Lee1, Laurence Tessier1 and  Dorothee Bienzle2*
  • 1Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Canada
  • 2University of Guelph, Canada

The Salivary Scavenger and Agglutinin (SALSA) protein is an innate immune protein with various alleged functions, including the regulation of inflammation and tissue remodeling. Transcriptomic studies of severe equine asthma showed downregulation of the gene encoding SALSA in bronchial epithelium of asthmatic compared to non-asthmatic horses. This study aimed to characterize expression of SALSA in equine tissues by immunohistochemistry, corroborate potential differences in epithelial gene expression between asthmatic and non-asthmatic horses, and assess the structure of equine SALSA. An antibody against SALSA was validated through immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry and Western blotting to recognize the equine protein. This antibody was applied to tissue microarrays containing 22 tissues each from four horses. A quantitative PCR assay was designed to compare gene expression for SALSA between six asthmatic and six non-asthmatic horses, before and after an asthmatic challenge, using cDNA from endoscopic bronchial biopsies as source material. The SALSA gene from bronchial cDNA samples of ten horses, was amplified and sequenced, and translated to characterize the protein structure. Immunostaining for SALSA was detected in the mucosal surfaces of the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, stomach, small intestine and bladder, in pancreatic and salivary gland ducts, and in uterine gland epithelium. Staining was strongest in the duodenum, and the intercalated ducts and Demilune cells of the salivary gland. SALSA was concentrated in the apical regions of the epithelial cell cytoplasm, suggestive of a secreted protein. Gene expression was significantly lower (p = 0.031) in asthmatic compared to non-asthmatic horses. Equine SALSA consisted of three to five scavenger receptor cysteine-rich (SRCR) domains, two CUB (C1r/C1s, uegf, bmp-1) domains and one Zona Pellucida domain. These domains mediate the binding of ligands involved in innate immunity. Varying numbers of SRCR domains were identified in different horses, indicating different isoforms. In summary, equine SALSA has a predilection for mucosal sites, has multiple isoforms, and has decreased expression in asthmatic horses, suggesting alterations in innate immunity in equine asthma.

Keywords: Asthma, DMBT1, gp340, Heaves, Immunochemistry, Equine

Received: 28 Jul 2019; Accepted: 07 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Lee, Tessier and Bienzle. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Dorothee Bienzle, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada,